• 08.06.14

Michigan Inmates Get A Wardrobe Makeover After Sheriff Deems Orange Uniforms Too “Cool”

The popular Netflix series about prison life has made black and white the new orange in one county jail.

Michigan Inmates Get A Wardrobe Makeover After Sheriff Deems Orange Uniforms Too “Cool”
[Image: Orange Is the New Black]

Piper Chapman and all her cool friends on the Netflix show Orange Is the New Black have made orange prison uniforms too fashionable for the liking of one Michigan sheriff. At Saginaw County Jail, Sheriff William Federspiel decided inmates would be getting a wardrobe makeover: their new uniforms will have horizontal black-and-white stripes, channeling old school, 19th-century prison garb.


After he saw a juror at a trial dressed entirely in orange, Federspiel decided he didn’t want inmates to be mistaken for fashionistas riffing on styles in the popular TV series.

“For me, it was an easy decision,” he told Reuters. “It was a cost savings and it breaks away from that cultural coolness. It’s not cool to be an inmate of the Saginaw County Jail.”

The irony of his decision is that the fashion world has spent the last several years obsessed with black and white, and some bloggers have declared “prison stripes” officially trendy. Jumpsuits, too, are en vogue.

Federspiel is unaware of these trends, telling the Saginaw News, “We decided that the black-and-white stripes would be the best way to go because it signifies ‘jail inmate,’ and I don’t see people out there wanting to wear black-and-white stripes.” Except, of course, for Marc Jacobs models. Actually, the new uniforms look like baggier versions of this black-and-white striped onesie Rihanna once wore.

Still, some of the inmates have complained about their new uniforms. Federspiel is having none of it: “I tell them that if they don’t like the clothes I give them, then don’t show up at my door.”

[H/T Reuters]

About the author

Carey Dunne is a Brooklyn-based writer covering art and design. Follow her on Twitter.